1.         Lamu Old Town (Kenya) (C 1055)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2001

Criteria  (ii)(iv)(vi)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1055/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2000-2010)
Total amount approved: USD 31,776
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1055/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

March 2004: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS monitoring mission; February 2005: World Heritage Centre advisory mission on water and sanitation assessments, May 2010: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM reactive monitoring mission.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1055/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2013

The State Party submitted a State of Conservation Report in January 2013 in response to the Decision 36 COM 7B.43 of the World Heritage Committee. In addition, the State Party submitted the following documents:

·  LamuPort Feasibility Study and Master Plan

·  Lamu Port Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Study Report (version dated May 2011)

·  LamuPort – South Sudan – Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor (Presentation)

·  Lamu District Regional Physical Development Plan 2007-2037

·  Management Plan 2013 – 2017

 

a)  Lamu-Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor, and Lamu Port and Metropolis  Development Project

The Feasibility Study and Master Plan submitted by the State Party indicates massive growth foreseen for the area of Lamu District including, not only the port facilities, but also railways, highways, pipelines, an oil refinery, a new airport, a resort city, and additional massive urban development.  In order to carry out this work, it will be necessary to dredge MandaBay and introduce a significant amount of infrastructure to support such a large development. The population is expected to grow to 500,000 people in 2030 and 1.25 million by 2050 (an increase of over 1000% over 35 years).  The State Party reports that the National Museums of Kenya, along with other national expert authorities, are concerned about the scale of the project and its potential impacts on the fragile heritage of the region. They further report that through the National Museums of Kenya and the local municipality, they are working to engage community based organizations, NGOs, and other stakeholders to secure interest and focused conservation and management actions for the World Heritage property. 

The State Party reports that a final, comprehensive EIA report is currently in circulation for comments by the government and other stakeholders.  A draft dated May 2011 was included in the submission by the State Party, and a publicly available version labelled “Final Report”, dated February 2013, is available online through the following web link:  (http://www.nema.go.ke/index.php?option=com_phocadownload&view=category&id=117:eia940-949-reports&Itemid=567).

Both versions of the report describe the Lamu Old Town as a World Heritage property and list the criteria for its inscription.  The EIA then calls for a more detailed Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) (called a cultural and archaeological impact assessment in the document) to be carried out.  According to the document, the HIA should focus on impacts from the large scale development, population increase, demographic change, and labour migration on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property and its setting, including impacts on tangible and intangible heritage, as well as impacts on the artisanal fishing industry, the visual qualities of the property and its setting, the sea current and coastal edge vegetation, and the loss of archaeological deposits and sites. 

The State Party further reports, that the National Museums of Kenya has been approached informally by the lead experts of the EIA to determine the financial requirements for carrying out a detailed heritage impact assessment.  There has not, as of yet, however, been any commitment of funds or approval of a terms of reference for an HIA nor has any potential timeframe for its development been identified.

The report does not indicate if any steps have been taken by the State Party to halt work on the port development as requested by the World Heritage Committee in Decision 36 COM 7B.43.  They do report, however, that “Save Lamu”, a local umbrella organizaton that brings together several local community based organzations, has petitioned the High Court of Kenya to halt the project until all impending issues are resolved. The High Court has since directed that the case be placed urgently before the Chief Justice for the selection of a three-judge bench. However, no further information on these decisions has been provided. 

b)  Management Plan

Copies of the Management Plan were submitted by the State Party. The plan covers key areas such as conservation issues, risk management and disaster risk, and visitor management, and contains an action plan for the implementation of the proposed activities. Strategic directions of the plan deal with issues of conservation and rehablitation of existing buildings, strenthening tourism and marketing, building better community awareness and involvement, and developing better documentation and protection of the heritage resources not only within the World Heritage property but also in the surrounding areas. 

c)  Boundaries of the property and buffer zone map

Despite requests from the World Heritage Committee in Decisions 36 COM 7B.43, 35 COM 7B.39, and 34 COM 7B.46, the State Party has not submitted the requested maps showing the precise boundaries of the property and buffer zone. Clarification on this issue is crucial given the large scale developments foreseen.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM

The World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies have examined the submissions provided by the State Party, and these documents confirm a development proposal for Lamu District that is on a massive scale and that will most likely impact negatively on the attributes that convey the OUV of the property, in particular its social and cultural unity and cohesion, its relationship with the surrounding landscape and setting extending to the surrounding islands, the delicate natural ecosystem, as well as its fresh water supplies of the Shela sand dunes water catchment area.  There is also a strong potential to create massive urban development pressures on the property which will affect its setting. 

The World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies are of the view that it is essential that a full HIA, which focuses on potential impacts on the OUV of the property, be carried out (following ICOMOS Guidance), covering not merely the first three berths of Lamu Port but for the full scope of the project. This HIA should be carried out as soon as possible and, work on the LAPSSET and Lamu Port and Metropolis Development Project should not go ahead until this assessment has been carried out. This assessment should focus, not only on the possible impacts on the built heritage and natural environment of the World Heritage property, but also on the social, cultural, and religious impacts, which are important attributes of the OUV of the property. The World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies acknowledge that the first steps have been taken towards the realization of this comprehensive HIA, through the completed EIA; and would urge the State Party to prioritize this study.  

The World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies, appreciate the work carried out by the State Party in the development of the management plan and will make specific comments directly to the State Party upon finalising its comprehensive review. They would point out, however, that the single biggest management issue for the property at the present time is the development of LAPSSET and Lamu Port and Metropolis Development Project, which is not dealt with in a signifcant way in the plan. They would therefore recommend that in conjunction with the carrying out of the proposed HIA, a chapter dealing specifically with conservation and management issues surrounding the proposed port development be written, and integrated into the management plan.  They further consider it essential that clear maps showing the boundaries of the World Heritage property and its buffer zone be urgently submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies. 

Decision Adopted: 37 COM 7B.40

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Having examined Document WHC-13/37.COM/7B.Add,

2.  Recalling Decision 36 COM 7B.43, adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),

3.  Takes note of the documentation submitted by the State Party in regard to the Lamu Port – South Sudan – Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) corridor and the new Lamu Port and Metropolis Development Project and also for the Management Plan for the property;

4.  Reiterates its deep concern about the likely negative impact of the LAPSSET corridor and the new Lamu Port and Metropolis Development Project on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property;

5.  Requests that the State Party urgently carry out a full Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) which focuses on potential impacts on the OUV of the property following ICOMOS Guidance, covering not merely the first three berths of the Lamu Port, but for the full scope of the project; the HIA should focus not only on the possible impacts on the built heritage and natural environment of the property, but also on the social, cultural, and religious impacts to the property and its surrounding landscape and setting;

6.  Also requests the State Party to halt all work on the LAPSSET corridor and the new Lamu Port and Metropolis Development Project until the HIA has been carried out and its results discussed by the World Heritage Committee;

7.  Further requests the State Party that a chapter on management issues, specifically related to the LAPSSET corridor and the new Lamu Port and Metropolis Development Project, be written and integrated into the management plan;

8.  Reiterates its request from its 34th (Brasilia, 2010), 35th (UNESCO, 2011) and 36th (Saint-Petersburg, 2012) sessions that the State Party furnish maps clearly showing the boundaries of the property and its buffer zone;

9.  Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2014 , an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014.